MAY 30TH, 2021 // JEREMIAH 1:5 // PASTOR LARRY DAVIS

Jeremiah - Week One

Jeremiah is also actually the longest book in the old Testament. It's a challenging, wonderful read.

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Jeremiah - Pastor Larry Davis

Reading Time: words
Note: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Yeah, we got some good stuff coming up. I'm excited about that. Hey, today is a weekend of remembrance. And so just to pause for a minute and recognize those who have served, someone who has served that has given their life I recognize you, we honor you we see you in the midst of this moment. If you're joining us with online just even this last year, I've had the honor to go to a couple of different Terry ceremonies and lay someone to arrest. And so I know the distinct privilege that is that I've had. And so again, we just see them.

We have a couple of things that I wanted to update you about last week. I made a first announcement about this. I a follow up for any of those that weren't here. I've gotten a lot of questions about, Hey, what is that going to look like at church after June 15th, when regulations change, we've got notification from our local governance and the county and the guidelines, et cetera, that come that Tuesday, June the 15th, that and churches as well. The likelihood of it just kind of going back to what was pre COVID stuff is going to be at the discretion of individual institutions. And so following those guidelines are going to really consistent from the beginning, just to let you know what is going to shift or not going to shift on the father's day weekend when it comes to us is we're going to keep everything on campus right now, pretty much the same.

We have some social distancing set up in the rooms and how we're laid out with chairs and just kind of the common areas. We have collapsed our kids area. And so we can handle that. Well, we're going to keep that going for a couple of months to kind of feel that out. The one thing that will shift just a little bit is we're going to create a mask only, or non-vaccinated section in the middle of our room towards the back. So that's comfortable for those who don't yet feel comfortable, not wearing a mask if they've been vaccinated, et cetera. And so that's going to be something that we're going to stop policing, but for now we're still have masks are still asking people to wear masks the entire time in here, but that's one of those shifts. And I know a lot of people have reached out and that are concerned about this.

And the thing is, is that I'm just trying to be consistent with what we've done from the very beginning and care for everyone involved. And so trying to create spaces for us to do that. So those of you who are with us online and wondering, Hey, what's that going to look like in the future? Now, you know, those of you who are in the room, what's it going to look in the future? We're just walking through it together. It's been such a fluid situation. And the important thing is to love each other and to care for each other, through all of this. One of the things that I wanted to let you guys know about is that in a couple of weeks, we have a members meeting on June 13th. We didn't get to do one last year because of COVID restrictions. And so we're going to do an in-person one and an online one.

And anyone is actually welcome to that. It's at one o'clock on June 13th in this room online or in San Francisco at the same time, feel free to come to that. If you're a member, highly encourage you guys be a part of that. As we get to look at what God's going to be doing here in the future, just update on some things that are going on and introduce some new board members. So some are really great, but today I get to kick off our summer series. I know I just said it out loud. I know it's the last weekend of may, but this is summer. It's here. It's on, this is what we've been waiting for. And we're starting this series. We're going to do an 11 week conversation through the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah. Wasn't really written chronologically, but we're going to grab some things out of this, specifically, this loss calling exile and king eviction that we're going to see throughout here. And I've brought in some friends they're going to pop in and out over the next coming months through the series that have some expertise in this area. One of those just the highlights is June 27th, Brandon McDonough. He runs an organization called hold fast recovery. He is, if you saw this years ago in the news, back in 2013, he is the sole survivor of the Yarnell fire when 19 other hot shots lost their lives. So he was the one that made it through there. Unfortunately actually knew one of those men. He was in my youth group and did youth ministry with him and him passing away in that fire. And so we had just a different connection when it came to that. He's going to come out here and talk about some of that loss, exile, that difficulty stuff, and how we kind of walk through those things and what his life has looked like since then.

So just the highlight, really excited about everybody actually highlight him specifically this weekend or highlight different people as we kind of continue to work our way through this. So Jeremiah, this is really a framework that we're going to use to understand this progression of Jeremiah's life. He's a prophet of God and in his ministry in order to think about the way that this loss calling exile and conviction, speak to our present moment that we're dealing with. And this week I've titled this message you are known, did you know that you are known, but before we hop into that and what no looks like. I want to do a quick overview of this entire book of Jeremiah for you understand this is the old Testament. So here's a glance at this timeline. Jeremiah is a prophet that came in the backside of Israel's kingship era.

And he comes in here and you see it's broken down into some sections that I'm going to highlight when it comes to these chapters. Jeremiah is also actually the longest book in the old Testament. It's a challenging, wonderful read right here in the beginning chapters one through 24, we see right here is a bunch of poems that is put together. And these poems are explaining that Israel people, Israel aren't acting the way that they are supposed to. In fact that they are turning away from God. And you see in chapter a sermon that he gives, he actually shows up at the temple and he sees where they're trying to worship and honor God. And they're doing sacrifices because that's the sacrificial system was around then. And he literally says, this is all a sham. He even uses really intense language. And these poems explain that you are like an adults or that you have cheated on, or you're turning away from God.

You're going towards something else and not rely on God, but you're just doing these things to say, Hey, yeah, we're still a part of God, but we're not living a lifestyle that he's asked us to live. And so he calls it out right here and starts to prophesier explain that there's going to be an XL that exists or that there's going to be a nation that comes in. And there's a couple of nations that are surrounding that area of Judea Jerusalem. You can kind of take them right in the middle. And then on the side, once idea of Babylon, the biggest nation, and then the other one, you have Egypt. And so it's this competitive thing right? Between the two as we kind of work our way through when we get around chapter 23, you see right there where he actually starts to talk about, well, there is going to be a hope, although there's going to be a destruction that comes and he talks about in this poem, because there's going to be judgment that comes upon you, that there is going to be this hope because the line of David will Be used and renewed to bring a Messiah.

It doesn't say when, but gives this piece of hope right here, just as it kind of transitions into this next session. This next section right here is all just doom and gloom. Like it is like Babylon specifically is going to come. This is way of God bringing judgment upon you for your actions and the things that you have done. And he's explaining that in detail over and over and over again, it's very gloomy. And you see here in chapter 28, he actually gets challenged by another prophet named Hannah and I and Hannah and Iowa's was saying, Hey, Jeremiah, this isn't going to happen. God promised way back here to Abraham. You know, Hey, we're going to give you blessings for the future. And so God's going to continue to bless us no matter how we act or what we do in Jeremiah is saying, that's just not true.

It's just not true that his judgment is going to come. Then we transition after all of this gloom stuff into this period of hope or it's she called the book of hope, these four chapters right here, where he talks about that one day, this will stop like this. Isn't going to be the forever. This isn't, we're not going to constantly be in exile and taken over. He doesn't give a time period of exactly how long they're going to be an exile, but he says that there is going to be hope for a future. And this reflects back into a future cast of the hope of Jesus right here. Then it transitions then to this period of exile, we see for 10 chapters, 11 chapters, just this gruesome story where we've heard about what's going to happen. And now we're actually seeing it take place. And in Jeremiah explaining what it's like for this XL take place king Nebuchadnezzar coming in from Babylon and destroying Jerusalem, the temple, and then taking groups of Israelites out back to Babylon with them.

And this is the first exile that you see is where you get Daniel, Daniel, and his buddies. And then in the book of Daniel explained some more, what that looked like the second time he comes, where you get Zeke you'll and you get to understand a little bit more, that looks like as you read through there, but just this really difficult season that is explaining this is what it's looking like, this destruction that we're actually experiencing together. And then what happens finally in the last few chapters is send them talking about the nations and not just Babylon was used as judgment for Jerusalem and the Israelites, but it was that God's actually going to judge Babylon themselves because there are wicked people and there's going to be hope and a future. That's going to be good that God's going to bring his people back into their land, but there's going to be judgment on other nations as well.

So really intense book, really powerful. A lot of it's really sad, but there is a ton to learn and a grasp of this. And I, I encourage you to read it. It's a challenging read through the poems and stuff, but I think that you will benefit from that. And as we kind of grab pieces out of this, as we walk on this journey, I think we're all going to benefit from this in a really powerful way. So summertime is a place. There's a place that I go to that I've gone to for the last 20 years that has a dear and near place in my heart. And this place is called a nets mono village. And that's motor village is on the upper lake of the twin lakes, just outside of a town called Bridgeport on the backside of the three 95, the three 95 freeway goes in the backside of California.

And to get there, you have to go up and take the past. Usually through Tahoe, it's just north of mono lake and just south of Topaz lake. And so it's nestled in on the backside of Yosemite. And I want to tell you that when I go there, I know exactly where I'm going, and I know exactly the best spots to go. If you were to go there and say, Larry, where's the best place to camp. Literally, I could point you to the best three places to go camping and camping specifically, depending on what kind of camping going to do. Are you just going to be a tent? Are you going to be an a trailer? Do you need hookups? Like, what area do you like the water? Do you like the sound of water? Do you want space? Where you just in the trees, you don't need to be close to a restroom or shower.

I can lay that down. Exactly. I can tell you exactly where the bears come down and cross the Creek. I know the exact spot. I like camping there because I like to know what they're doing. I like to know where they're up to. I know how to get the bears to shoe and go away. It's really crazy. It's this thing I learned about this area that we have friends. Like we actually know the bears. We go back and we know that bears have gotten bigger and we've seen them and they're like gigantic raccoons. They like to be sneaky, but they don't like to be seen by people. And they're scared. So I can show you exactly where they cross. I know exactly where they usually did not found where they take all your trash. When you leave your trash out and they've gone and grabbed trash. I know the best spot to go fishing. I know exactly where you can walk out on the lake and you can get yourself a hundred yards out into the water and still stand on a sandbar and not go under. When everything around you is about 20 feet deep. I know that exact spot. I know exactly how to take it out there. So you could say standing the whole time, and then it looks like you're standing from here up. I know the exact best place to catch longer of a rainbow trout right off of a little Creek and a little Cove. That's my favorite little Cove. I know that exact spot. I know exactly where to put the anchor. I know exactly where to lineup, because I know how the wind pushes you around in the water, moves there towards the dam towards the end. I know exactly where to get anything you need at a nets Mono village.

I know a nets mono village. I have not exhausted the upper twin lake of a nets motor village, meaning that there are things that I'm going to come to know over time. As I continue to go there. And even this summer as I go and spend nine or 10 days there, I will learn even more in some back path and the best way to get around this and the best of you for this and find if there's another angle to get it, see if I can get around the other side of this 300 foot waterfall. I know it I've come to know it. Well, do you have a place like that? Do you have a place like that? That you just know so well that you've visited, whether it's a city or a sports team that you know everything about or a skill that you have, that you've got that very specific vernacular. And you understand where a lot of us could make a comment like, oh yeah, no, I know about that. But you could do like a deep dive when it comes to that because you've sliced it and diced it and shoot on it and investigated it and come to truly know that thing that you love. This is a concept we're going to pull out and we're going to learn in Jeremiah right off the bat. And one of his first poems, Jeremiah, one five, some of this is familiar to you. It says this before I formed you in the womb.

I knew you before you were born. I set you apart. I pointed to you as a prophet to the nations. Now, the reason I'm showing you this whole versus a lot of you just see this one before I formed you in the moon womb, I knew you, right? But we don't often read the next part before you were born. I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Now this is very specific. Like most of the Bible is written to very specific people. For specific things. You see this even all throughout the new Testament, the letters that are written to specific people about a specific circumstance that they're dealing with. So in the same sense, God is speaking to Jeremiah and saying, Hey, I've called you in set you aside to be a prophet for me. Now there's things that we can learn about who God is. Wouldn't the things that he says to other people. So this right here, before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. So what did we learn about God here?

He knows us that he has the ability to know us deeply intimately before we even knew ourselves, that this concept that we are known before we even know, we often spend time collectively anxiously, trying to prove ourselves in life. We're constantly trying to make ourselves known or to find our way in life. And yet here's the beautiful thing that we get to learn about God is that we are already known and we live out of our own nowness. This friends is an opportunity for us to find peace for others, to find peace, to stop, trying to make yourself known and to constantly trying to do better and make sure people see you in the weight that that brings on your life. When you're constantly striving, just to be known, but to live to live scene and to live loved.

We see this before Jeremiah even had to make difficult decisions about his life. God's speaking to him about how to engage in the realities of this changing world that he was born into before he has to figure out how to stand up for the way of God. When others seem to abandon it, they've put it off to the side before he makes counter cultural decision. He is first hold this, you're known, you're known, and it's out of his newness that he's able to do what he's called to do with Claire when it's needed. And this is a beautiful concept that we get, that we are known and you can dive deeper in all throughout scriptures and see how much God knows you and how he is unveiling. And knowing the things like the hair on your head and the intimate details of how known you are. And just that concept of you were known from the very beginning, just unravels that you can unpack that, but you are known by God, but how much do you know him?

I think that it causes us to ask that other question, wow, I am fully known by God at the, at the smallest, my new levels, the other side, how much do you actually know him? I want to tell you that you can know him about as much as you are willing to know. He's infinite. You can't ever stop knowing more. You can't ever. There's not an end to this journey that you go on. See, we enter into a story that's begun long before our life's even started. And it's actually going to continue after our life's end to this way that you can live well in this story is to direct your attention, our attention to God, whose story proceeds ours and continues on after ours, whose story that we're entering into, which is why we can be known.

We know. So can we, and our nowness awakened to the possibility of knowing the almighty, like never before in an intimate specific way. And so some of you might ask, how do we do that? How do I know God and a deeper level and unpack those level layers. I want to tell you, one of those things that you can do is you can hang on to his attributes. So you can look around what are the attributes of God. It's an example that we use lots and you'll see this all throughout scripture. God is love, right? So you can start with, God has love or for God. So loved the world that he gave his only son. And God loves you this way. And he shows his love this way. And you see all throughout the life of Jesus, the way that he lived love as, as a light of love to others.

And so, as you hang on, that what you would do is you would sit there and say, what are all the different angles that I can see how God has love? How can I see a situation? How can I read every bit of scripture that points me towards the way that God is loving in circumstances in the which, which he is loving and caring for another person or caring for me? How can I actually see that lived out in the stories of Jesus? How can I see that lived out in the old Testament and the new Testament? How can I see that lived out in my own life, where I can confess and give gratitude to God, because I can see the way that you've loved me. And we can just sit there and continue to turn the heart of God until we see this new angle of love and understand that in a deeper way. I wanna ask you this. How many of you know that we have a professional baseball team in Oakland? You can use your hands. I'm going to, we're going to do like stuff together. Great. So hands. Hi. Do you know how many of you know that we have professional baseball team in Oakland? How many of you know what the name of that?

Okay. What is it?

The Oakland. A's great. Excellent. Okay. So we know that there's a professional baseball team in Oakland, the Oakland A's. How many of you know what year the A's were established? Hello? I lost everyone there. Oh, I got one. What do you got? 19. Oh one. We'll go close.

How many of you know what city? The Oakland A's were first originated in? What's that? Anybody you got it back there again Has Philadelphia. Well that, and then went to, there you go. We got a couple of people right here in Kansas came to Oakland in 1968. There you go. You guys, you guys are actually on this. We got some fans in here. They have one. How many, know how many rings that they have? One, Couple of people, anybody, nine, 15. Pinots. How many of you know who their current manager is? You raise your hand. There cope. A couple only people were losing lots. We've only got like two that are in tribute right now. Way, moment, life for this. This is good. Bob. Melvin, right now the manager ACE pitcher. How many know the ACE pitcher. Okay. ACE pitcher. When he got Chris? Well, I'm going to go with Chris Bassett right now for this year. We'll do trivia later. This is going to be good. Okay. So crisp acid. So what we can do is we get there's layers, right? Cause everyone in here said, you know, the Oakland A's, you know, they're the Oakland A's. But when we start getting deeper and then it goes into like, who has season tickets, then it goes to like, okay, so how many of you know the players? Oh, I know Chris. How many know how old he is? He's 32. How many of you have ever spent time with him? I got to spend time with them during COVID. And one of the conversations we had is he was so stoked that COVID was actually happening in a bad way. But for the first time he had a season, cause they were just going to have a little girl where he's going to be around because he travels most of the year. And so he was getting to see his daughter walk for the first time and do things that he never would have been able to do is this family guy that loves the Lord. And he was even telling me, he's like, Hey, I'm not even throwing right now. I'm not even going to throw because I'm so present right now with my family. So how much do you know, how many times have you been on the field for a game? But we all know the Oakland A's right. The same sense we can say. Well, I know God. How many of you know God? Right? I know God. Well, let me tell you about them. You would say to me, well, we're talking about attributes. I'll use the one you just used. God is love. It's good job. He is. Yeah. But can we get deeper there? I Valentine's day is one of these really goofy holidays. It's so good. If you got a Valentine, it is not good. If you don't got a Valentine, right? It's like this holiday that we invented and you always have these interactions to understand like about another person as you write these letters, you spend time with them. And then, so I got to talk to a friend one time and I was like, what are you? What do you like about Alex? She said, well, he smells good. Okay. That's good. I mean, it's better than the opposite. Right? Well, what else? He's so sweet. Okay. That's Good. And so then we write a card, cue the music, Dear. You smell good. It's good. Right? So like, what do we know? Oh, so what do we know? Right. If I was to go to you and be like, You were going to, you were going to say to me, like, what do you love about your Valentine? And you'd be like, whoa, whoa, whoa. You're talking about my lover. I can talk about the love of my life. I mean, how much time Do you have, like how Long of a list can I give you? Do you want to know just about the day? Do you want to know just about the things that I love from this last week? Do you want to know about the things that I've gotten to learn about this person in the last 20 years, as I've dove in deeper and seeing the way that they love and they care for others and they're patient and they're always thinking of someone else and they're willing to jump in. I mean, come on, let's go. You might even get some tears out of me here in just a minute. Friends. I think the tough part is, is you asked the average, Christian, what do you love about God? And you're not going to get back. How long do you have? How long do you have? And you sit there and you're ready to write this letter. And you're like, okay, well let me write this letter. Well, I love his grace. I got that one down. His grace is good. Number two. Can I do grace twice? Like I like grace a lot. It's really good. And his mercy and his love did I mention grace. Okay. Ah, that one time you helped me when I was in a bind that's it helped me. That's an attribute, right? Friends instead of saying, oh, you're talking about my lover. You're talking about my savior. You're talking about my God. You're talking about my Valentine right now. My one true love. You're talking about my mono village. You're talking about my city or that skill, my specialty. If you got an hour, do you have an hour? I would love to tell you about the love I have, about how much I know my God. I want to say that knowing God in this in-depth way and knowing him all the way in completely is impossible. He's infinite, or this analogies of the AEs is that we use to construct, to go layer by layer, by layer because God is spirit. He's infinite, but it gives us all a picture of knowing something more than just a general sense. I know God is gracious. Let's see, dig in and unpack that and truly understand that. And if there is a God of infinite greatness, and if he is inviting you and I to come and to know him intimately, Then friends, there is nothing more, nothing more valuable in your life. Nothing more rewarding in your life than your full on pursuit of knowing him, friends. God knows you. And he wants to be known by you. So kind of wrap this up and follow up for this week for you to be able to have conversations with friends or family or on the way you go from here, you can take out your phones. You can take a picture of this. You can write it down in the app. I'll point this out, up on the screen. Here's a couple of questions for you this week. How are you living in your numbness? How are you living in your nowness? Are you living it out? Are you chasing and carrying this weight that others are putting any, just to make sure that you feel known and loved and heard, or are you living In the comfort and the love of being known by the God of the universe? How Are you pursuing the God that knows you? How are you pursuing him back and chasing him down, trying to know him at a deeper level. And finally, what next steps are You going to take to engage in his story? That started long before us. That's going to continue on long after us, but living in This moment and this opportunity of being known By God, how can you continue in that story and going to respond? This is a good time for us to stand into worship and proclaim what God has spoken Over us to us and through us.

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JUNE 6TH, 2021 // JEREMIAH 1:5-10 // PASTOR ROGER STORMS

Jeremiah - Week Two

When troubles come into your life, what is your normal response? What is your first impulse for problem solving and at what point do you usually turn to God?

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Jeremiah - Pastor Roger Storms

Reading Time: words
Note: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Hello, Northgate. Good to see all of you online as well as here in the room today. It's great to be here. I come from the state of Arizona. That's where Larry was from and we don't have mass song in church in him. I know, I know, but it's a great experience someday. You'll get to experience that again as well. It's a good thing. I want to thank pastor Larry for inviting me to come and share with you this morning. Larry is a big guy with an even bigger heart and he loves people and he loves you at north gate and he loves the Lord, his God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. He is one of our son Jeremy's best friends, and he was truly a blessing to us during the last years of our son's life and Nancy and I can never repay Larry for his kindness to our son in those final days of his life.

And so I wanted to say, thanks, just so thank you, pastor Larry, and thank you Northgate for letting me come and share with you today. I'm also so proud to count him as one of my Timothy's. One of the young men and women who have come out of our church and have gone into vocational ministry. It's great. And God has blessed him here with a great church and you guys are doing fantastic. I'm so proud of him and proud of you. And you guys started this series in the book of Jeremiah and what an amazing passage and group of scripture. And today I want to talk to you and teach him how to deal with situations and trials and troubles that seem impossible and maybe seem to exceed what you think that you can handle in your life and deal with in your life. Now, there are a lot of things in this world that seemed to be impossible and back several things that literally, it seems impossible for a person to do.

Maybe some of you can, I don't know, but do you know that it's, it's almost impossible for you to sneeze with your eyes open? Did you know that sneeze with your eyes open now don't try it and service, but the next time you're at home, give it a shot and see if you can do so. Do you know that it is almost impossible for you to lick your own elbow, to lick your own? Now don't, don't do it right now, but, but I know when you go home today, you will try that. And unless you have an unusually short arm or an unusually long tongue, it is impossible for that to happen. Do know that it is impossible to talk while breathing in it's it is impossible. You talk while you're breathing in, unless you are a salesman or a preacher who can talk no matter what's going on.

Do you know, it's almost impossible for you to tickle yourself, try it right now, try to tickle yourself. It just doesn't work. Even if your most ticketless person in the world, you cannot tickle yourself. And do you know that it's almost impossible for you to break an egg while holding it top to bottom between your index finger and your thumb. It is almost physically impossible for you to break that egg. And if you can, you are probably taking performance enhancing medication, and that's not good either. Now I know some of you want to try these things. When you get home, be my guests, let me know what happens. There are several times in our lives. However, when we find ourselves in situations that just seem impossible, stuff happens in our life. There's just seems to be impossible, whether it's an act of that, God allows Satan to push into our lives or whether it's the fact that we live in a fallen world.

And so, because of that bad stuff happens in this world or because of our own actions. When we do something that's kind of stupid and we find ourselves suffering from that. There are some times we find ourselves in things that seem impossible and may be a result of COVID. It may be that because of COVID in the world, you've lost your job or lost your employment, or maybe there's been a death of a loved one because of that. And maybe as a result of an action decision that someone else has made someone who said you in a relationship, I don't want to be in this relationship anymore. Or your kids break your heart or someone's suffering with an addiction, or, or maybe you find yourself and the result of illness and someone in the doctor's office has used the C word in your life. Or maybe someone that you know is going through term traumatic illness or mental illness.

It may resolve it resolve of a poor decision that we have done. And because we've done something really silly in our lives, we find ourselves with our back against the wall, or maybe it's because someone has forced demands on us. That seem impossible for us to accomplish many times in our life. We're going to face situations. That just seem impossible. It's been very well said that everyone has either just come out of a crisis or as in the middle of a crisis, or is just waiting for the next crisis. Its own. It's just practical. Everyone is either come out of a crisis is in the middle of crisis or just waiting for the next crisis. That may sound pessimistic in life. But folks that's just reality. One of my favorite movies is a movie called the princess. Bride was a number of years ago. How many know that movie?

Okay. How many of your men will admit that you watched that movie? That's kind of a girly flick, but it's a great movie. And in that movie, Wesley says to the princess, this line, she says, he says, princess life is pain, Highness. And anyone who says differently is selling something. And for incentives, just reality. Life is pain and it's tough. It's hard. Actually that statement just echoes what Jesus said. Only Jesus. When he said it said it with a twist in John chapter 16, verse 33, Jesus said this, I have told you all this describing the troubles and the trials that are coming. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me here on earth. You what's, the line will, you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart because I have overcome the world. And in this very profound and simple verse, Jesus tells us precisely how to handle situations.

That seem impossible. And I'm going to come back to that a little later in the message. So keep that in mind. But we're focusing on Jeremiah today and Jeremiah, the prophet that's different than Jeremiah, who was a bullfrog. He was a very good friend of mine. Thank you for laughing at them. In Jeremiah, the prophet seems to face an impossible situation. He was, he was just a farm boy in Israel and God and Israel was in absolute turmoil as a nation because of their sinful rejection of God and their falling deeper and deeper into sinful behaviors as a nation. Does that sound vaguely familiar today? God, and the people wouldn't repent and turn the hearts back to God. God was forced to allow the Babylonians to come in and wreck destruction on them. And the reason he allowed that is to hopefully get them, to turn their hearts and repentance and come back to God in faith.

So God says, Jeremiah, I've selected you to announce that I've selected you to tell that to the people and our friends. Listen, that was not a very popular message. God's going to mess stuff up for you because of your sinfulness, because of the fallen world, in which you live. In fact, it was literally a dangerous message. And as you read and stay through the book of Jeremiah, you're going to find how true that really is. But God calls Jeremiah and informs him of his TA his task of his trial. That seems impossible. Grab your Bibles or online. You want to look at the scripture. You can see this passage in Jeremiah chapter one verses five through 10. And it says this, dear God says, Jeremiah. I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. That's amazing statement. I knew you before I formed you in a mother's womb.

I knew everything about you. In fact, it's amazing statement about abortion, isn't it? But the reality is he's saying, I, I, before you were born, I formed you in your mother's womb. I set you apart before you were born to be my profit to the nations. So Jeremiah responds in verse six. Oh sovereign Lord. I said, I can't speak for you. I'm too. And the Lord replied, don't say I'm too young. You can imagine that kind of resounded. Don't say I'm too young. Lord replied. And four, you must go wherever I send you and say, whatever I tell you, and don't be afraid of the people for, I will be with you and protect you. I, the Lord have spoken, man, when you hear that phrase, you know, that's like bang. You know, I, the Lord have spoken. Don't be afraid. Just do what I tell you to do.

I, the Lord has spoken. Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, look, I have put my words in your mouth today. I appoint you to stand up against the nations and the kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down and destroy and overthrow and others, you must build up and plant. Now this impossible situation was way out of Jeremy's Jeremiah's ability. Did he deal with it way out of his ability to deal with it? It was beyond his ability, but not beyond God's ability at amen to that. It was beyond his ability, but not beyond God's ability. And notice what God said when he called Jeremiah. He said, I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb, I made and know what you can and cannot accomplish. I knew you.

I made you and I know exactly what you can and what you can't accomplish. Don't worry about it. He says, don't be afraid of the people for, I will be with you and I will protect you. I, the Lord has spoken. Don't be afraid of the people for, I will be with you and I'll protect you. He says, don't be afraid. I will be with you. I will protect you. Do you know someone who said that there are 365. Don't be afraid phrases in the Bible. One for every day of the week. And God wants us to realize that when he's on our side, we don't need to fear the fears, the devil's word, not our word. And then Jay God says to Jeremiah, I have put my words in your mouth. I will give you all. You need to be faithful. I will give you everything that you need. He touched his mouth and he said, I will provide for you. And then God said to Jeremiah today, I appoint you. He said, I believe in you. I believe in you. The word, a point there in the Hebrew is the word. But God, it means to be selected for a special tax. God said, listen, I made you, I know what you can and can't do. I'm there to hope you help you get through it all. Don't be afraid because I'm on your side. I'm on your team. And I believe in you, listen, God will never allow you to be in a situation that he, with your, with you, with his help, you cannot overcome. God will never put you in a situation that is beyond your ability to deal with because knows what your abilities are. And so you can trust him in that truth.

Now, is that a good word or what? That's a good word. And you know what? God feels the same way about you. God says the same thing to you. So God wraps this statement up with Jeremiah chapter one verses 18 through 19, he says for four, see today I have made you like a strong fortified city that cannot be captured, cannot be captured as strong words from God. You're like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land. The Kings, the officials, the priests, the people, Judah, and they will fight you. Listen, they will fight you, but they will fail set with me. They will fail. When you go through those trials, that seem impossible. Your life. They will fight you, but listen, friends. If God's called you, they will fail. God says for, I am with you. I will take care of you. I, the Lord have spoken.

There's an old song by the heritage singers that says when I think I'm going under part, the waters Lord. When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea. When I cry for help, hear me Lord and hold out your hand, touch my life. Still the raging storm in me. And when you find yourself in impossible situations, it feels like you're going under raise your hand because God said, I am on your team. You will not fail, but they will. But they will. Larry's friend. And our son, Jeremy understood this. Jeremy was born with the disorder called hemophilia, which meant that his blood did not clot. It's not circle surface. That's platelet. That's a different Claudine mechanism, but it's an internal Connie mechanism. So if you bang your elbow, bang your knee, if you bang your head, bang your chest, if you as a, as a child when you did so it would draw a blue bruise on you.

Well, that bruise was subdural bleeding and that's what would not stop in our son. And so the only way to treat it is by putting pressure, putting ice on or more pronounced in his age, they were able to start an Ivy with him and to infuse him with a clotting factor that was derived from human blood. And these were the days before, just the very entry time of aids when people didn't know, or weren't quite sure if, if the aids was a bloodborne disease or not HIV. And so our son was being treated for his bleeds. How many, if you've had a toddler in your, do you know how many times they fall and bang their needs and blank, their elbows and bang their heads? Well, you can imagine what it was like. We would make FIC frequent trips to the hospital so that they could start an IV on this little toddler as early as six months old.

And that was his course of life. That was as he went through life. And, and but when he was aged 10, the opportunistic infection occurred that told us that Jeremy was HIV positive, that he had acquired HIV as a result of blood transfusion. And for the next five years of his life, until he was 15, 15 a month in a day until he passed away on December 7th, 1996 Jeremy's life was difficult in a trial of struggle. And that's when pastor Larry knew him on one occasion because of medications, because of the illness that he had, he was struck with waves of nauseousness and was just unable to hold anything down. In fact, they, anytime he lifted his head, he would begin to get sick. And because of his sick sickness and illness, his body was very small and very emaciated. If you think Larry standing next to me is like mutton Jeff.

So you remember that. You can imagine Larry with my little son, he had no bones on him and no meat on him at all. And he was so sick. And so he would found the only relief you could have would be to lay on our bathroom floor, which has style. And when the wave of nauseous will come, can we get up and hold onto the side of the toilet bowl and stick his head over? And he would wreck, but there was nothing in there. So you could see every fiber of his muscle tense as he would go through that wave of nauseousness. And then once it passed, he would lay back down on the tile floor. And this went on all day along folks all day long as we witnessed that, at one point, he turned to his mother and he said, mom, I don't know how anyone could get through this without Jesus.

I don't know how anyone can get through this without Jesus. And as his parents, watching our son suffer and slip away in an impossible situation, he taught us the same truth. I don't know how anybody could get through this without Jesus. I don't know how anybody could get through this or get through what you're going through without Jesus in their life. In Eugene Peterson's book, run with the horses. He states there's an enormous gap between what we think we can do and what goal God calls us to do. Not a great statement. There's an enormous gap between what we think we can do and what God calls us to do. And in this gap, God gives us some promises and Hebrews chapter 13, verses five and six, the Hebrew writer says for God has said, I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.

So we can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper. So I will have no fear. Isn't that amazingly similar to what God said to Jeremiah, that we read just a few minutes ago. There's no reason for you to be afraid. I'll never fail you. I'll never abandon you. And there was no reason for you to be in fear. Once again, the apostle Paul writes in first Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13, no test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember. You need to remember this is that God will never let you down. He'll never let you be pushed beyond your limit. He'll always be there to help you come through it. That's a promise with God that is I, the Lord have spoken and that's what we need to remember.

So when you're on yourselves with your backs against the wall in an seemingly impossible situation beyond what you think you can deal with, you need to remember these promises. Nelly, let me let you in on Satan's secret plan. This is, this is good. This is worth the price of admission here today. All right. So if you don't get anything else, get this. And if you're asleep at home, a nudge that person on the couch and wake them up, or if you're asleep, you wake up and because this is important, let me let you in on Satan's that Satan secret plan, Satan causes impossible situations to try to turn you away away from God plot. He's already lost the war. He's just dealing with battles in your life. And if he can hurt you, he can hurt God. And that's his only hope. And so his desire and everything that goes on in your life, in this fallen world, everything that happens in your life is Satan trying to turn you away from God, realize that, understand the source.

One day when Jeremy was going through a particularly our son, a very tough time, he would have severe headaches. And, and so when he woke us up the whole night and said, just cut my head off, just please just cut my head off. And so I got up with him and carried him into the room. Nancy was sleeping and I put him in a chair. We sat in the chair together and it turned on the TV and the mash television program was on. It was on reruns then, but how many have ever watched the mash program? And in that program, in that episode Dr. BJ Honeycutt was standing by a general or Colonel or something. And Hawkeye Pierce was doing surgery on someone. And that person in surgery had their heart stop. And so Hawkeye shouts out, give me a Skype scalpel. I'm going to massage his heart. I don't. And he leaned down and he said, listen, don't let the bastard win.

Larry, can I say bastard in this room? We are good.

He said, don't let the bastard win. And so he massage his heart and got it going again. And later the Colonel said to a BJ Honeycutt, the other doctor, what did he mean by that? And he said, well, to, to Hawkeye death is a bastard and he doesn't want him to win. So we finished that show and Jeremy was kind of calming down a bit. And I said to him, Jeremy do you know what Satan is trying to do right now? I'm your life and my life. He trying just to get so mad and so upset that we'll turn our backs on God, that we'll blame God for everything and get mad at God. And I don't know about you, but I'm not going to let the bastard. When Jeremy said, I'm not going to, Jeremy said, I'm not going to let the bastard when either dad. So I picked him up and carried him into his room and laid in his bed. He was that small and went back to bed. And the next morning I woke up and they came walking out, Nancy and Jeremy were in the kitchen and they were talking and then Nancy walked me back in the bedroom. And she said, I can't believe you taught our son to use the word bastard. That's what she got out of all that. Okay.

But no matter what you're facing today, no matter what's going on in your life today, I want you to realize what Satan is trying to do, and don't let the bastard win. We'll let him move. It's okay. To be angry. It's okay to be upset. Just realize the source and focus that anger on the source, not the savior, but the source in second Corinthians, chapter 12, verses 18 and 19, the apostle Paul was given a special treat by God to get a glimpse into heaven. And so that he wouldn't take too much pride in that God allowed a thorn in the flesh to come into his life. We're not sure what that was, but it was painful a difficult time. And so Paul says this in verse eight, three different times. I begged the Lord to take it away. This Soren in the flesh, there are different times.

And each time he said, my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. I love this because he said, I asked him three times, God, take this away. And God said, my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. Okay? God, I get that. God, please take this away from me. God said, listen, listen, my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. God is God perfect. Thank you. But God would you please take this away from me. You ever been there? And each time God says, my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So he says, so I'm glad to boast in about my weakness so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weakness and the insults and the hardship and the persecutions and the troubles that I suffer for Christ for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Now let me take you back to the words of Jesus in John chapter 16, verse 33, Jesus said this, I have told you all this so that in me, you might have peace here on earth. You will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart because I have overcome the world. Now, fix friends, Jesus states an undeniable truth. Here, trouble on this earth is a certainty. He says, look, it's going to happen. It's not. If it's when and, and when it gets over with just not, if it's when trouble in this world is going to happen, it's a certainty. See when, when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, when they God told them not to. And they did, when they chose to disobey God, they effectively told God to shove off. We're going to do it our way. And God said, that's what you want.

I love you enough. Not to make you do something. I give you free will to do it. And this resulted in us, living in a fallen world where sickness and evil and death and COVID happens. There's moral, evil, where man is injust to mankind. And there's natural evil, where the world seems to work against mankind. And this moral, evil, and naturally will, will reign and will do so until Jesus comes back. That's why Jesus said here on this earth, you will have trouble. It's a result of the fall. And Peter says in first, Peter, four 12, dear friends, don't be surprised that the fiery trials that you're going through as if something strange were happening to you, I mean, Jesus told us is going to be that way from the very beginning. So in this first in John chapter 16, verse 33 in this verse, Jesus tells us how to live through the troubles of life, how to live through the troubles of life, troubles are going to happen.

And they are unpredictable who would have questioned a year ago that we'd be dealing with what we're dealing with, but we are with God's help can have the victory. So how do we do that? How do we do so how can we live through the troubles of life? Well, first of all, by making sure our peace is in Jesus before the trouble comes before the trouble comes, Jesus said, I've told you all this so that you may have peace in me. It's coming. So have peace in me. There's an old adage that says four warned is four armed. And Jesus wanted us to understand. So we won't be blindsided when this stuff happened that we're prepared for it when it comes. And that means that we need to find our peace in Jesus. Let me remind you of our son's words. He said, I just don't know how anyone could get through this without Jesus.

And because Jesus is in his life, Jesus gave him strength to deal with. Walt seemed to be an impossible situation. Friends, listen, Jesus is where the power to endure trouble is found in Jesus. That's where the power to endure troubled is found. And if you don't know him today, if you don't know him as your savior and your Lord, if you don't know him, then I encourage you to find him as your savior. And Lord Northgate is more than willing and happy and desire. Some fact exists for that. Very purpose of helping people find and follow Jesus. And so if you don't know Christ as your savior, I challenge you to make that decision today. And once you're connected to Christ, you need to grow deeper and deeper and deeper and stronger and stronger and stronger because Satan's trials will become deeper, deeper, and stronger.

And the world's troubles will become stronger. You need to be prepared to deal with them. Paul says in Ephesians chapter six, verses 10 in verse 13, instead of final word, final word, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power put on all of God's armor. So you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. We'll put on every piece of armor so that you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. And then after the battle battles coming folks, after the battle, you will be standing firm. When, when the smoke clears and the dust settles, you'll be standing with your foot on the neck of Satan, in the victory on Christ. The solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand. So, and we live through the troubles of life while we're making sure our peace is in Jesus before the trouble comes.

And secondly, by guarding our hearts during the troubles, by guarding our hearts during the troubles, that's critical, Jesus said, take heart hardest word. And we're not talking about the blood pumper. We were talking about the wheel, the seat of emotions. And he said, you need to protect your heart. During that time, the proverb writer says, guard your hearts, Proverbs four 23, guard your heart above all else above all else, guard your heart for it. Determines the course of your life. Protecting your spiritual heart is critical. Balloon trials and tribulations come that seem insurmountable. There are ways to guard your heart. And when the troubles come, you need to have a wall of protection around your heart. So how do you do that? Well, there's many ways that you can, but one of the ways I want to share with you today is in ecclesiastic chapter four, nine, and 10, and there Solomon, the world's wisest man said this too.

People are better off than one for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help him up. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Friends. Listen, when you find yourself in trial, you need brothers and sisters around you to help hold you up. That's part of the reason why God created the church. That's why you need to be in a community group here. So when those times of trials come, you've got someone to help hold onto you and help you be strong. In Daniel chapter two, Daniel Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were some of the ones who are taken captive during the time of Jeremiah and taken to Babylon. And while they are there never can, as her had a dream and never measures a dream was scared him. And so he went to his wise men and he said to them, Hey, listen, I want you to tell me that the message of my dream, what it means.

And they said, you tell us the dream. We'll tell you what it means you have. No, no, no, no, that's too easy. You could trick me. I want you to tell me what the dream was. And then tell me what it means. And the Wiseman said, well, nobody can do that. And he said, if you can't do it three days off with your heads. So Daniel's handler went to him and said, Daniel, if you don't tell, never can ask, answer what his dream. Wasn't what it means. Then you're going to be killed. So Daniel said, go back until they came. Give me a little more time. This is important. Just give me a little more time to deal with this. And he ran back to his friend, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and he got them together. And he said, guys, let me tell you, what's going to happen.

They go, that's impossible. And he said, no, because it's not because God's in this. And so they all got together and they prayed and they fasted. And when the three days were over, God gave Daniel the answer, an impossible situation it's made possible because of God and support of those around him. That's why community is so very important to guard your heart. You need to have a support team. You need to have a support team to help you get through it. In Galatians chapter six, verse two, the scripture says, share each other's burdens. And in this way, obey the law of Christ. When you carry each other's burdens, it makes the impossible be divided by the number of people carrying it. And what is divided suddenly becomes possible. You get that. And our church, we used to say, get it and I'd say, get it.

And you'd say, got it. And I say, good. So get it good. All right. So we can live through our troubles of life by making sure our pieces in Jesus before the trouble comes and by guarding our hearts during the troubles. And then thirdly, by keeping our focus beyond the troubles, keeping our focus beyond the troubles. Jesus said, I have overcome the world. Now, son, because of his hemophilia was required to get IVs from actually first one was about six months left and Nancy and or nine months. And then thereafter, he would, we'd have to go to the hospital routinely. She'd give me a call. So Jeremy banged, his head doctor said, bring him in. So we'd take him down. We'd at that time we lived in the east bay, we'd drive down to Oakland and twin the Oakland children's hospital. And they'd start an IV in him pumping full of this clotting factor.

And so that was just a frequent occurrence. And w w when he was about three, because of a certain condition, he needed to get clotting factor every third day. And so they're, so it's silly to bring them in the hospital for all that. So they arranged to have a home health nurse come to our house. And so this little three year old boy, and we would lay them out on the kitchen table because it was flattened big and they would prepare him and they would start IVs. Now, how many of you like to get shots? Anybody in here? I didn't think so. Can you imagine a three-year-old who's had it again and again and again. And so we would try to do things to take his mind off of. And I would, we would sing, Jesus loves me. In fact, one time we were singing, Jesus loved me in the car and he started to cry because he thought he was going to the hospital.

And I would tell him the story of David and Goliath. And he's the David. And then hemophilia is the Goliath and throw the stone at him. And, and then on our table, we had a picture think a picture's gonna come up here. And just a minute, hopefully it's going to come up. Maybe not. Well, if it does, it does, it was a picture of the image of eternity. It was a picture of an image of heaven and the great banquet feast that was there. And while that was listed, I would tell Jeremy, you know, there's, there's going to come a time in your life, in my life where you're going to, you're going to see a Jesus and there'll be no more. What we call bumblebee stings. There'll be no more bumblebee stinks. So right now we have to go through it, but there's going to come a time where we're going to live forever.

And you're never going to have to have never bumblebee sting folks. Listen, sometimes you need to keep that focus beyond the trouble. Keep looking beyond it. Rick Warren, it says, God created you to live in a heaven with him for eternity. Heaven is your home. Her, that's why you sometimes experience Discontentment and this fat, this satisfaction in your life, you're not completely happier because you're not supposed to be. If you were totally happy on earth, you might think you could live without God, but God created you to long for something much better. A home in heaven with him, fish would never be happy to living on the land because it was made for water. And the Eagle could never feel satisfied if it wasn't allowed to fry and you will never feel completely satisfied on earth because you were made for more. So keep looking up.

I want to experience happy moments, but nothing compared to what God has planned for you in heaven, there are no more bumblebees. There may be times of troubles. We wonder why dot God doesn't show up or why he doesn't seem to answer our prayers. Why circumstances seems so unfair, but when we realize life on earth is just temporary, it can radically change our values, eternal values, not temporal ones become the deciding factor emotions and the decisions that you make. So Paul and second Corinthians chapter four, verse 17 and 18 for our present troubles are small. Won't last very long, and they seem huge at the time. Don't they? But they're small. They won't last very long. Yet. They produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them all and will last forever. So don't look at the troubles where we don't look at troubles. As we see now, rather we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen for the things we see will soon be gone.

But the things we cannot see will last, how long will last forever. When our son Jeremy was born, even before he was born, we chose his name and we dedicated a life verse him. You know, this verse, everybody seems to know this first Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11 says for, I know the plans I have for you says the Lord they're plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and hope when Jeremy was born with his hemophilia and that verse became centered in our life. And when he contracted HIV and aids, it caused us to re understand the fact that we weren't made for here. We were made for heaven. Amen. Keep your eyes looking up. Did it mean there'd be no more troubles in life? No, that it mean that there'd be no seemingly impossible situations that we would face. No, that it mean that there would never be times when we felt like our backs were against the wall. No, but what it meant was that God knows, God knows what you're going through and God cares, and God has a plan. That's what God told Jeremiah. That's what Jesus told his people. And that's what he tells us this morning. Just trust. Just wait, just watch, just see. Okay. Has Jeremy has illness progressed? He became sicker and sicker. The infection got into his brain. He began to drift in and out of coma because of the pressure on the basis of the brain. His eyes began to glass over. There are times he couldn't see times he couldn't yeah, Speak. He was weak. So weak the last couple weeks of his life. And after we had some friends that came to visit family members, I picked him up and carried him back to his room, put him in. And I turned to Jeremy and I could see his eyes were open. Like he was looking at me and I said, Jeremy, how you doing? And at this time, because his strength was so weak. He was just given one word answers. And so I said, how you doing Jeremy? And he said, I'm okay, dad. And I said, I'm not talking about up here. I'm talking about down here and friends as I stand before you today, I want you to know that I saw his eyes clear to that beautiful blue that they add been since he was born. And I heard a strength in his voice. I hadn't heard in weeks. And my son Jeremy said to me, I'm not afraid, dad.

And those were the very last words he ever smoked and seemingly impossible situation. And if my God can help a 15 year old boy face a seemingly insurmountable, impossible trouble and situation and do so without fear, then my God can do anything. I, the Lord have spoken. So the Psalmist says, as you go through those times in Psalm 34, 18 and 19, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to rescue each time. And so I encouragement to you here today is one of my life verses in Galatians chapter six, verse nine, the apostle Paul says, let us not get tired of doing what is right for after a while. We'll reap a harvest of blessing if we don't get discouraged. And if we don't give up.

And one of the ways that we celebrate that as believers in Christ, as Christ followers, one of the ways we celebrate that victory as we take the Lord's supper. If you want to take your cup out now and very carefully, I encourage you to peel off the top layer and take that little piece of bread out of it. Hold it up in front of you. Would you do that? We hold this bread. We are saying, I believe that God took on flesh. That Jesus is God. In the flesh. I acknowledged that he came into this world and because he came into this world, I can leave this world in victory. So he is the bread of life as we take communion. Would you remember that? And declare today that Jesus is God in the flesh. Amen.

No, turn the cup over, pull back. The tab carefully. The juice in this reminds us of the blood of Jesus. Jesus called us to do so. And he said, this is, this is the cup of the new covenant, but it means there's all the old stuff it's gone. We have victory because of the blood of Jesus. And he reminds his disciples at that time that when you take this, remember that I will be with you even to the end of the age. This is a covenant for now and forever. And no matter what you go through in life, you'll never alone because Jesus died to be with you. Amen. So as they take this cup, remember that God wants to be real. Even the difficult times of life. And as we close the service here, I want you to focus on the words of the song that we're going to sing. The words are these. Don't let your heart be troubled. Hold your head up high don't fear evil. Fix your eyes on this one. Truth. God is madly in love with you. So take courage. Hold on me strong. Remember where your help comes from? Amen.

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JUNE 13TH, 2021 // JEREMIAH 7:1-8 // PASTOR LARRY DAVIS

Jeremiah - Week Three

Our current cultural moment needs are not more people attending church. It's not more than people just seeing songs saying the right religious language and the things. But instead people who are committed to living the way of Jesus.

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Jeremiah - Pastor Larry Davis

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Note: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Good morning friends. How are y'all doing good. Hey, there's people in the room. I'm excited about that. If you're with us online, I'm so glad that you're here too. As you can see, we're ready when you are ready to come back here. And now there's lots of summer plans. I would love to be one of those plans, if you would come and check it out. So I think it's really important for us to be in community together. There's something really important about that. One of those options, like Vanessa just mentioned Brendan McDonough. He's going to be here in a couple of weeks killer guy. We have a really cool story. We actually know each other through some different friends and knew one of the guys that one of his brothers that he lost. Vanessa had mentioned the movie. If you wanted to watch the movie, it's called only the brave. It was out a couple of years ago, Jeff Bridges, and as a killer, very emotional, you kind of already know what's going to happen. So you can be prepared if it's appropriate for you. But I talked to him this last week again, and I was like, what would you change about the movie? Like if you thought this has done well or not, well, or miss something. And he said, unfortunately it told his story really well. And you'll see why he says, unfortunately, but there's good news on the back end of that. And then he said, Hey, it's Hollywood. And you can't spend that much time going into each one of these men's life and that intimate level. So to understand them. So hopefully get a better view of all of those things that we can learn from him, what he's learned about God, and then collectively what we can learn about God together with that. So, yeah. Excited about that in a couple of weeks today, I have titled this message moving beyond cultural Christianity. That's going to be a fun one buckle up. It's going to be good. Moving beyond cultural Christianity. If simply believing in stuff is enough to like make a difference. Can you think about how different our lives would be if we just believed in the right thing? Can you think about how different our lives would be like the believing in like, yes, we believe in nutrition and health and exercise and the difference that would actually make in our bodies that have just believing that would actually make that come to fruition, please. Jesus, let it be. So if just believing that stuff, actually, then it came about if, if no one then would struggle addictions because we have this belief that addictions hurt things and hurt people and can hurt us. Or we wouldn't have money issues. Like we wouldn't struggle with our finances because we believe in that there's good decisions financially and having a budget and a structure and not getting into debt. And we believe those things. And so we wouldn't be struggling on preparation for school, right? Our preparations, really, for anything that we believe it's important to be prepared, right? And so then we don't really need to prepare because we believe it that you should be prepared for something and the impact that it's going to make. So rather than this study through Jeremiah, that we started just a couple of weeks ago. And this, this book in Jeremiah is about a prophet named Jeremiah. And he is tasked with the most difficult task of telling God's people, Hey, you're messing it up. You're not living the way that you should be living. And there's going to be destruction. That's going to come upon you because of this. And so today we find ourselves actually in Jeremiah seven in the temple where he gives what would be a message. And so God says, Hey, you need to go there to the temple where these people are hanging out and you're going to give this sermon or this message. A lot of poetry is just before this, that we kind of walked through in the last couple of weeks. And then after this. So Jeremiah seven, that is different. I'm going to read it from here. That's messing with my eyes. This is the word that came from Jeremiah from the Lord. Stand at the gate of the Lord's house and proclaim this message. Hear the word of the Lord. All of the people of Judea came through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord almighty God of Israel says. So this is when he now says, so Jeremiah is now standing. And he's now going to tell and give this word of the Lord to people who are in church or in this temple areas is reformed your way and your actions. And I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, and say, this is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord. If you really change your ways and your actions in deal with, if you really change your ways and deal with each other justly, if you do not press the foreigner, the fatherless, the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. And if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you. I live in this place in the land I gave your ancestors forever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words and are worthless. These are like powerful words that he's giving them right now saying, what are you doing? Look at your life outside of here and how you're acting. And you come to this place and you're like, this is the temple of the Lord. This is the temple of the we're good on the reform of many people. At this time, this was just a surface level reform, like a window dressing, where they went to this holy place. They use the right language, the words they understood the vernacular, but they didn't engage. So their lives in the living way and how they lived it out. And you see, we get this, actually, we get this because most of us know, most of us know what we need to know to live better. We know what we need to know to live better. We know that our problem in life, isn't a lack of information. We know we need to be honest. We, no, we need to forgive. We know we need to be more compassionate. We know we need to be more generous, but for the most part, we know everything we need to know or believe everything that we need to believe. But the truth is the truth is that we know this. And we know this, that knowing and believing doesn't really make any difference. And a lot of circumstances, otherwise things would be different. Otherwise things would be different. So here's the thing. God knows this. He knows this. We see all throughout scripture and how it's lived out in the old Testament and lived out through Jesus and the new Testament because of this. He, you didn't invite people to believe. And this might be like really contrary to what you've heard or how you grew up. What you've been taught. We see that in Jesus, that he didn't spend a lot of time trying to get people to believe the things he said, Hey, we should believe this thing that I'm talking about. He actually invited them over and over and again and again. And we see this in God and God through Jesus, that he actually invites us not to know things, but to do things. He invited them to do things because he knows what we know that doing makes all the difference. Friends. If we believe all the right things and don't do it, our faith then becomes weak and fragile. We consistently see in scripture that God and God through Jesus was not just asking people to believe in him. Hey guys, you should really believe in me. His invitation as to follow me, his invitation was to follow me. It was relational. It was active. It was interactive. And over the time the church has actually done this down. Some of you maybe have never actually heard the phrase, follow me. You heard what I heard you. And I heard it a lot. You heard believe in me. And so the reduced follow me to believe in me. You just need to believe in me. And you may know this from experience. Believe in me is a lot easier than follow me. It's a lot easier than follow me. Believe in me is safer. It's far less demanding. How many of you guys by show of hands here in the room? How many guys think my kid should have good grades? Like they should get good grades. A lot of you. Yeah. You believe it. So how many of you guys are going to like start calling and saying, how can I tutor your kids? Because I want to see them have good grades. Like they need to follow this a couple of years out, hit me up. That's great. I got four. It's far less demanding. Like it's from a distance. Yeah. I believe that. How many times have you had an interaction or even found yourself in a season of distance or somebody else? And they're like, no, I believe, I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. This is exactly what we're seeing in Jeremiah right here. And then you're like, what really? That's weird that you could just hit your train to Jesus because I'm watching your life and how you're living or how you're acting. And now I'm going to find myself like Jeremiah at the gates being like, what are you doing? Look at where you're at right now. This is what you're actually doing. Not what you believe. And unfortunately, believe in me can leave you exactly where you are. No change required. Just believe it. God did. And Jesus did not merely invite people to believe in him. As he read and see throughout the scriptures, these face stories, you know, the very beginning with Abraham and God said like, I have this beautiful thing for you. This land, this space, this blessing for you. But you have to leave everything that you know, and you just have to go, right? He could have been like, I believe you. I really do. But I don't want to take that step of faith. He didn't know where it was going to go. And he had to take that step. You see it all throughout. You see Abraham, you see, even Ashley talked about Moses and God calling Moses to go into Egypt and tell, set his people free. He could have been like, I believe you want to set them free and you can do all those things. I believe it. But it took an hour, an actionable step to do something. He said, follow me, follow me, go, you see Noah? Yeah. He could have said, God, I believe there's a flood coming. And then God was like, you better build a boat. Right? He could have just stuck with, I believe it. And then watch the kind of storm come along. And hadn't built the boat. Gideon. You see the story of Gideon and how God used him in his steps forward of faithfulness to her, what God asks him to conquer. You see it in Joshua. This is like the kids' stories and the walls of Jericho. Like, Hey, I'm going to tear down the walls of Jericho. And what did he say? He said, you got to like, actually take some steps. You're going to walk around that. A bunch of times you're going to blow some horns. And then the walls are going to come down. The difference between believing and doing and following you, see it all throughout the gospels. Jesus invited people to live this life that actually reflected our confidence, our faith and our trust in God that he actually is God. And he has to be God and a lot of moments in my life. So we can say, well, what does that look like? Like what does it look like to actually trust in God? Well, God is most honored. And again, through all of these stories, we see it all throughout the entirety of the scriptures. God is most honored by our active faith. That following part you see in Jeremiah, how dishonored he is by the opposite. He says, we, you still, and you'll commit adultery and perjury burn incense to ball and follow other gods that you have not known. And then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my name and say, we're safe. We're safe. So safe to do all these detestable things has this house, which bears my name become a den of robbers. We see Jesus say the same thing later in the new Testament. But I have been watching declares the Lord that he sees this Jesus. When he comes into the temple, you know, there's a famous story of him flipping stuff over, and there's a passionate, you know what people call it, passionate rage that is in us. And he talks, well, you're just making this a den of robbers. And this wasn't because these people were doing bad things in the temple they were doing in temple work. Just like these people in Jeremiah, they're doing the temple work. And he's saying, this has become a den of robbers where you're out there doing everything else that we have said, don't do, like, you're not living this out. You are a different person. You know, he used to say like, you, you have your weekend hat or your work hat or your home hat, right. It depends on what hat you're putting on a different hat on. And then you're coming in. This has become a den of robbers where you just hang out and you feel safe in your safe place. You're just going through the motions by showing up and putting on face friends. God is most honored by act of faith. You have a story. I know you have a story. You've heard stories of someone's active faith when they acted on something and it became real, their faith became real a minute grew. I remember I could share so many. I remember I had a, I had a really clear line into the corporate world. I had moved up quickly and corporate industry and had a really clear vision of where that was going to land very quickly in my life. And I remember very clearly how God said you're feeding people, the wrong thing. I happened to be working in the food industry. So it connected a little bit. And, and that was a step I had to take, which led to another step, which led to another step. And I saw God's faithfulness, even though I didn't understand it, I'm getting in my car and driving to another state and showing it with school and being like, I guess I got to do this. I guess I got to figure this out. I'm gonna leave everything that I knew. I remember his faithfulness when this isn't as applicable to everybody in here, but he said, Hey, plant a church. Maybe for you. It's like move and go somewhere else to do a work that I've asking you to do. That's difficult. Maybe doesn't pay as much. So for me, planting a church meant like I'm going to leave all my friends, all my family. We're going to go somewhere and I'm going to live on macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly and hope I survive. Right? It's applicable to you and your situation. But I got to see like the fruitfulness and it grew my faith because I actually had to rely on God and who he was and what he invited me to do. I remember really specifically, God called my wife and I and said, Hey, we really believe orphans are important. And I was like, I believe that too. He was like, what are you gonna do about it? No, I don't want to. And I remember it's actually going to be just in a couple of weeks. We said, okay, we'll, we'll take steps. We don't know where this journey ends. And we took all of these steps towards adopting a little boy in Ethiopia and we continued to go through those. And then we felt like, I felt like at least it was done and prayed to God and was like, Hey, I think that we've learned what we're supposed to learn in. Our faith has grown and we've seen you move. We've done these things. And this has been so hard, but such a blessing. And I remember we even got to a point and it's somewhat embarrassing to say that I fleeced God and said, you told us it is, if you're really going to do this, you better do it like this and now, or I'm done, right. It was a very much a Gideon situation. And lo and behold, that asks specifically was a couple of weeks, which was just a couple of weeks from now is my wife's birthday. And it was like, you know, what would be great for her on our birthday, a birthday present that we'll never forget is that if we hear about this little boy, that you've selected for us to scoop up and take into our house and doggone it on her birthday, we got a call at 10 30 in the morning and said, we've got a little boy for you. And that grew our faith that grew our faith coming here to north gate, leaving this church, plant the family. The thing that we thought we had built in a space, you know, you ever been somewhere, you thought you're just gonna be a lifer leaving that because you felt like you were called to do something different. For me specifically, I felt really called to come here and allow our founding pastor to be my pastor first and my boss second. And to lift him up through what I thought were going to be some of the richest years of ministry of his life. And to experience that collectively, I felt like I was called to be as Aaron to lift him up. And those were hard steps of faith. He didn't want to do it. I didn't want to do the difficult work that that took going over to Uganda with my friend, Rick small, just the two of us to actually deliver a bunch of nickels that in our kids area had raised for nets. We did a small little campaign that took off called niggles for nets, and we were going to help with malaria. And then the school district got involved in it. And then the whole community got involved in this. This is a really cool thing. And we went over and we thought we were just delivering nets. And then we saw the water situation. And we were like, yeah, I believe that that's real bad. And God was like, what you going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? And so we came back and we started this thing called the Benicia water project, which then turned into walk for water, where we have all these plaques all over the place for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been raised just through this faith community for water Wells. This goes on, you've heard those stories where your faith grows bigger. You've been connected with them. You're like, wow, look at God moving when I'm doing, when I'm actually following him. Why friends? Because when our active faith intersects with God's faithfulness, our faith grows when our active faith intersects with gods faithfulness, our faith grows. When you feel nudged that little nudge to serve someone else, to make things right with somebody that you do not want to make things right with, right? When you say like, Hey, I should serve that person. And you feel that nudge, I really should reconcile with that person. And you don't want to, but you finally take those steps in doing that afterwards. You're like, man, what a rush? Like what a hi, you're going to serve someone and just been like, feel like the best person in the world, even though it's not really you, but that's what it is. It's this rush God's saying, Hey, your active faith honors me right now. You just reconciled with that person. And you're so thankful that you did because now you see God's faithfulness and your faith grows. So whenever we follow God and Jesus in an area where it's challenging or cost us something, when our faithfulness to God intersects with God's faithfulness, our faith gets bigger and you see our faith. It's like a muscle. And if you want your muscle to grow, you can't just believe that your muscle will grow. You have to do something about it, right? And if you don't ever do anything about it, if you don't ever exercise, then it atrophies and it goes away and that can be difficult and it can be really difficult. And we can go down that trail and just the moment, but you can start with little things and get little links, right. And be like, okay, I'm going to do serve project. Or I'm going to show up in student ministry and children's ministry. And I'm going to show up in a painful situation. And I'm going to flex my muscle little bit and be like, okay, three pounds. It's so hard. No more. I can do this. This is pretty good. Right? Or you can take like that step. And I can remember, you know, when I finally figured out how to, and decided I'm going to reconcile with my dad, I'm going to reconcile with my dad. And I'm going to see the faithfulness God's faithfulness on the other side of that and what that feels like, because I'm going to flex that muscle. Or, you know, you're going to take that next big step into like making sure that you're taking care of you and the other people around you. And I'm, you know what? I'm going to get some help. I'm going to show up right there and believe that God's faithful enough to take care of me, whatever that thing is. And it just gets bigger and bigger and you can keep going to do this. This is scary. This is getting really big. Come on son. You're like, this is a big step Lord in my weakness. You're strong And you get to do that stuff. And it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And you get to flex that muscle. And then you get to see those people. That's why we call them spiritual heavyweights because they're just like yoked, right? They're like, God is good. I know this. You're like, whoa, I don't know. I was scared. This is the theme all throughout scriptures. Those who have experienced living out practically what you believe you're, you've experienced the reward. You've experienced the reward of that. Now, if you're with us online, if you're in the room and he took a little nap, her, I lost you for a minute. I'm going to ask you to tune back in. Cause this is, this is what we learn about God from Jeremiah in this moment and what we learn from Jesus in this moment. And it's staggering. We learn, we learn. I learned that it's possible for you and I to attend some kind of gathering every week, maybe every week of your life, maybe twice a week, multiple times a week, that it is possible to hear. And it is possible to believe and yet have a life that ultimately undermines your faith it's possible. And when we do that, when, when we can find ourself in a place where we can believe, and yet have a life that ultimately undermines our faith, this eventually will produce a faith crisis in itself. A crisis of faith in itself. This is where I would say, if that you're not a follower of Jesus yet you're here in this space. You're not a Christian and you're here or you're with us online. This is where I want to apologize. I think an apology could be do, because one of the reasons that you gave up on Christianity, or maybe one of the reasons that you never have explored it, isn't simply that you don't believe it. You wonder sometimes if we, it, you wonder sometimes if we believe it, you've heard our rhetoric and what we've said about God and the Bible and truth and love and all that stuff. And then you look at the way that we actually live the way that we actually treat people the way that we actually treat people, the way that we actually treat people. The reason that you're not more open to believing in what we believe is because you just don't know if we believe it because we don't live it out. And that's actually what God's message was through Jeremiah, wake up guys. That's what he's saying. Hey, look, it, this is like, it's all just window dressing. And here's what I would say to you. If that's the way that you felt, would you just ignore us for a moment, ignore us and read through the gospels or just read through one of them. Matthew, mark, Luke, or John. This is the story. Life is the best way to see this. Follow me, lived out. Cause that's what he constantly asked people to do. He didn't just say, believe me. He said do this. And it was hard stuff. Would you just read one of the gospels and at least consider following Jesus because our inability to do what we believe doesn't undermine the invitation and the love that Jesus has for you and wrapping this up. I'm gonna jump to the new Testament. And James was actually the half-brother of Jesus, which is so cool about the book of James. There's so much in there and right off the bat we see in James one, the first chapter verse 22, it says do not merely listen to the word. And so deceive yourself, do not merely listen to the word and just show up and then deceive yourself. Like I believe it. I think that's a good, Hey, great talk. Right? Good challenge. I believe that says this do not merely listen to the word. And so deceive yourself. Do what it says. Do what it says. Faith is a muscle in faith that does not do any good friends is no good. We need to grow our faith. And then James goes right into this little story about a mirror, about how, Hey, imagine this, imagine that you wake up in the morning and you walk into the bathroom area and you look in the mirror and you go, oh, You're a mess, right? And you're Like, oh man, I need to do some work. I need to do some work on me. Get myself presentable. Right? Professional. Maybe it would clean up the breath situation. All of that. He says, Hey, you wake up. You look in the smear you look at. And you're like, man, I need some work, but then you do nothing about it. You just throw your bathroom. Why don't you show up at work? And everyone's like, whoa, Right? You believed you needed to do the work, but you don't do the work. God says, God says, somehow you can retreat to. But I believe all things are right. If I believe then all the things are right. And you must build a strong faith because one day friends we're going to need It. And it won't be there. You will meet it. And God says, Jesus says, I want you to be ready. Follow me, follow me, follow me. And then James ends this whole statement with, but whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it. Not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it. They will be blessed in what they do. If you want to experience God friends, you've got to do something with What you believe. And what we learn all throughout scriptures is what happens to people when they don't listen and they don't respond or live it out, is that like storms come, God knows storms. Just show up. And when the storms come, there's a crash and it's going to expose your faith and who you are. We got to hear powerful testimony from What's like my dad last week, Roger, my pastor of when a storm comes kind of funny as last name storms, what happens when that great crash comes, what's underneath? Why is this going to be difficult? Because our faith could be fragile and weak. Even though you believe, even though you believed you had not exercised to be prepared for the storms in life, and this should disturb some of you, it should disturb some of you that's. What's so disturbing about Jesus's message and God's message about follow me because believing again is easy. Jesus disturbed people when he preached, cause they didn't say, believe this new idea. He says, you need to do this. You need to pray for your enemy. What? No, no, no. This is a follow me. Pray for your enemy. Turn your cheek, that disturbed people. And ultimately you actually see a disturbed people to the point where you see in like the book of Johnny talked about that people actually in the midst of his message were like picking up stones to throw stones in the stone or almost push them off of a cliff, which is why there's a lot of distance right here in a stage. So that way, when we have to have difficult conversations, but from time to time friends There's tension. And we See in Jeremiah right here, this was a tension moment. And it's important that we actually live in that tension. So what our cultural, our current cultural moment needs is not more people attending church. It's not more than people just seeing songs saying the right religious language and the things. But instead people who are committed to living the way of Jesus Could do the personal Work of examining their interior lives and aligning the reality of their lives to the life, the ministry And the teachings of Jesus. Would you pray with me, father God, we thank you so much that you challenge us, that you push us, that you invite us. You Don't just say, believe this, that you actually invite us into something. And so today may we respond and follow you, not just the knowing, But in doing, and may you be honored by our active faith? God, if you will. And if it's your Will, may we just receive the blessings from that? And if anything grows stronger faith muscle, we love you and your name, we pray. Amen.

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